The ubv color evolution of classical novae. II. Color-magnitude diagram

Izumi Hachisu, Mariko Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We have examined the outburst tracks of 40 novae in the color-magnitude diagram (intrinsic B - V color versus absolute V magnitude). After reaching the optical maximum, each nova generally evolves toward blue from the upper right to the lower left and then turns back toward the right. The 40 tracks are categorized into one of six templates: very fast nova V1500 Cyg; fast novae V1668 Cyg, V1974 Cyg, and LV Vul; moderately fast nova FH Ser; and very slow nova PU Vul. These templates are located from the left (blue) to the right (red) in this order, depending on the envelope mass and nova speed class. A bluer nova has a less massive envelope and faster nova speed class. In novae with multiple peaks, the track of the first decay is more red than that of the second (or third) decay, because a large part of the envelope mass had already been ejected during the first peak. Thus, our newly obtained tracks in the color-magnitude diagram provide useful information to understand the physics of classical novae. We also found that the absolute magnitude at the beginning of the nebular phase is almost similar among various novae. We are able to determine the absolute magnitude (or distance modulus) by fitting the track of a target nova to the same classification of a nova with a known distance. This method for determining nova distance has been applied to some recurrent novae, and their distances have been recalculated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr


  • (FH Ser, LV Vul, PU Vul, V1500 Cyg)
  • cataclysmic variables
  • stars: individual
  • stars: winds, outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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